Over the course of lockdown the number of people we have seen running has grown day by day, and it’s an incredible sight to see. As a personal trainer I'm so impressed to see all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities outside, getting active, running and getting results. But why have so many people chosen to run?
First of all running is free and running outside allows you to stick to social distancing rules, so is one of the best ways you can currently exercise. At a time of financial uncertainty and with many concerns over interacting with others this is extremely important.
You also don't need any fancy or expensive equipment. All you need is a pair of decent trainers and you can run straight out of your front door. It’s also extremely time efficient. Even if you only have 10min you can still get an effective workout in and it can be slotted into any time of the day.
The whole family can get involved too. I have seen parents out doing laps of the parks and sports field with their children and the whole family enjoying it. It's a great opportunity for the family to bond and build great health and wellness habits that last. What other exercise can the whole family easily do with no equipment?
Before lock down there were 100’s of organised events for runners all over the country and for free. Every Saturday morning you could see crowds of people, families and friends out running together in a local parkrun event. Once the lock down is eased I look forward to seeing people come together again and running in these kind of events.
As well as being easy on the wallet and great for the whole family there are many physical benefits of running, including:
Strengthened muscles - Running is great for a full body workout but particularly the legs and this is where your body's biggest muscles are (gluteus maximus, quads, hamstrings and calves). Find a hill and it won't be long before you feel them all. It’s also great for your core muscles as they work to stabilise your body as it rotates with each stride.
Improved Joints - As the muscles around the joints strengthen, this helps to take the pressure off the joints themselves. Aiding longevity and stability of the joint.
Improves bone density - The gentle impact of running helps to increase bone strength and density, reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Improves Cardiovascular fitness - A study in 1985 found "Regular runners have slow resting pulse rates and a high maximal oxygen consumption.”
Helps you manage weight - Partaking in regular exercise such as running will help you to manage your body weight as you burn calories when you exercise. Combine that with the right lifestyle and nutrition and you will lose or maintain body weight as required.
And when it comes to the benefits of running on your mental and emotional health:
Endorphins - I'm sure you have heard of the “runner high” - you will be pleased to hear, it is real! When you exercise endorphins are released by the body. These feel good chemicals help to ease stress, anxiety and depression, running genuinely makes you happier!
Sleep - Taking part in regular activity has a positive effect on your sleep patterns which have a knock on effect to your mental health and general wellbeing. Better sleep improves recovery and energy levels therefore you will want to exercise more.
Brain health - The risk of dementia and stroke is lower in people who exercise regularly as brain circulation is kept healthy. For many going out for a run, alone with their thoughts is great for clearing the mind and having time alone to think. It can be a great release of built up stress from day to day life.
Performance - When partaking in regular exercise your concentration, memory and motivation improve which has a positive impact on your day to day life and the way you perform at work and socially.
So with all these positives you would be mad not to take it up.
If you are just taking up running remember to be gentle on yourself, start easy and build it up over time. Going too far too soon can put excess strain on your body and cause injury and put you out of exercise for a while.
Founder of TONIQ
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